North Adams, Village ambulance services cleared for merger

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NORTH ADAMS — The North Adams Ambulance Service and Village Ambulance Service will be single unit come Jan. 1.

The boards of both nonprofit organizations Wednesday signed off on the merger, which was announced in September, according to a press release.

Still unresolved is what the organization will be called, pending a yet-to-be-revealed rebranding.

The two services have a total of eight ambulances and respond to about 10,000 calls annually.

Village Ambulance was formed in 1982, serving Williamstown, Hancock and New Ashford.

Facing the same financial struggles as many other small nonprofit ambulance services, it began to explore the merger earlier this year. Despite working to decrease its expenses, the organization ended fiscal 2015 year $110,000 in the red.

The nonprofit hired a consultant and formed a working group to explore solutions with representatives from the town of Williamstown, Williamstown Fire Department and Williams College.

Village Ambulance ultimately heard three proposals and chose North Adams as the best fit.

Its absorption into North Adams Ambulance Service now is expected to provide longterm stability in Northern Berkshire emergency services.

North Adams Ambulance Service employs about 60 people, while Village Ambulance Service employed about 30.

Village Ambulance employees were forced to reapply for jobs under the new service, and nearly all did, according to Erwin Stuebner, president of the Village Ambulance board of trustees.

He said he believes "practically all" those employees will be retained.

The Village Ambulance service base on Water Street will continue to operate, albeit under a new brand, with the same number of crews on duty, according to the press release.

Officials from both organizations have maintained throughout the merger process that it will not impact — and likely improve — the quality of services provided in Northern Berkshire communities.

North Adams Ambulance Chief and General Manager John Meaney, Jr. and Assistant Chief Amalio Jusino will retain their roles.

Neither organization had relied on towns to subsidize their operations and that will continue to be the policy, according to the press release.

The deal also includes Village's non-emergency transportation services.

Stuebner thanked Village Ambulance employees for weathering the merger.

"They've just been great," he said.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-496-6376


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